I am The J: After 30 years of personal training, Marilynn hangs up the fitness gear

Marilynn Potts Leeds, a decades-long fixture at The J, retired recently after 30 years of personal training — a career that impacted a measurable percentage of the B’ham population. And it all started with friends encouraging her to turn her passion for exercise and weight-training into a career.

After arriving in 1991, it didn’t take long for The J to become the Potts family’s second home. Her husband at the time, Garth, was director of The J while Marilynn coordinated the ESL program. “Then voila!” she says. “My avocation became my career and I have loved every moment.”

Her dedication went beyond mere instruction. Marilynn led by example, embodying the very essence of fitness and vitality. She calls herself one of “the lucky ones” who loves to work out and has the motivation to do it.

“I’ve met hundreds of professionals in almost every facet of the health and wellness field, but Marilynn is truly exceptional,” says Fitness Director Camari Princewill. “This is due in no small part to her innate ability to remind people in a very natural way that they are worthy of being loved.”

That description fits her lifelong advice to always be grateful and kind, take care of yourself so you can take care of others, “and never stop laughing!” 

Marilynn is most looking forward to spending more time with family and friends and — of course — continuing to visit her second home (The J!) on a regular basis “to stay strong and see my people. She’s also looking forward to ditching her alarm clock.

Staffers and members lined up on Marilynn’s last day to wish her a happy retirement.